Thursday, April 9, 2015

Using @IFTTT For Better School Communications

Recently, I was talking with a few school administrators on how they could better communicate with their parents and the community. One obstacle that many schools and districts face is figuring out the most effective ways to ensure all are well informed and have all the information. Traditionally, notes home in a Wednesday Packet or using a website have been used. However, it seems that life sometimes gets in the way of these traditionally methods being effective. In my conversation with these leaders we talked about the struggles they have and how non-traditional means could be used to reach larger parts of their communities. 

Now we have to remember, communications is more than just information. Sure, the upcoming athletics schedule or after-school meeting times are important. But equally important are the stories that are told through the learning that happens everyday in every school building everywhere. There are usually many great things that deserve to be told each day. Those stories can be powerful and go a long way in building support with the community. 

I've been an advocate for the school leaders to be a walking PR Machine for their schools for a while now. Mobile devices we can carry in our pockets are powerful. They can take pictures, record video and audio. And combine that with access to the Internet, those can be shared across the globe in an instant. So during a walkthrough or just on a stroll through the building, its easy to capture, tell and share those stories. 

In my conversation with the school administrators on sticking point keep coming up over and over again. While there are many great places to share these stories, it takes so much time to post them to all the various places. Sharing a tweet on Twitter, and a post on Facebook and a post on Instragram and a brief story on Tumblr and on and on and on, it can be overwhelming or too much to keep up with. 


If This, Then That. 

If you've heard me before I've professed my love for all things IFTTT. The premiss is that when you do something (take a picture, post somewhere, etc.) then something else happens somewhere else. For example, a recipe I use all the time is if a picture of me that I am tagged in on Facebook is posted there, then that picture is automatically saved to a folder in my Dropbox. I set up the recipe one time and IFTTT does the heavy lifting for me after that. There are recipes for all sorts of things. Weather, data, blog posts, controlling your lights, if you can think of something you want to happen when you do something there is probably a recipe for it. 

So my love of IFTTT got me thinking. 

If the barrier to using these means of communication is not being able to keep up with them all, then IFTTT could be the answer. You set things up one time and done. 

Some recipes to try:
And now with their new DO App, its even easier. 

The DO App automates the process even more by taking a lot of the guess work out things. Designed for photos and notes, the DO will will make it that much easier and frankly remove any excuse you have for sharing. 

So after some time setting things up and talking about what stories to tell and how often, these school leaders were ready to share with their communities all the great things that were happening behind their walls. 

What about you? How do you make the sharing process easier in your building? What tools are you using? Leave your thoughts below. 

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